For Oakwood native Ealie Herman Henry Goree, giving back to her community is a family affair.

The fourth of 12 children born to Rufus and Robbie Henry, Goree is one of several siblings who continues to work to help people though the Henry-Smith Foundation’s Multi Cultural Center.

About 15 years ago, after the death of her father, the Center decided to expand the services from Palestine to the family’s hometown of Oakwood and Goree happily agreed to run the Oakwood center.

“We started out distributing clothes, furniture and baskets of food out of our father’s old grocery store building in Oakwood,” Goree said. “When the building began to break down we moved the center to Henry’s Chapel A.M.E. Church.

“Now I continue distributing grocery baskets at Christmas time,” she added. “About 20 baskets went out during Christmas of 2005.”

Goree has returned a lot of her attention back to helping her family run the Palestine Multi Cultural Center, and has led the campaign to put a much-needed new roof on the Oak Street facility.

“In the middle of the night I was awakened by the Holy Spirit with the idea for the roof fund-raising campaign,” Goree said. “So far it has been fairly successful — we have raised most of the money for it, but aren’t quite there yet.”

While the Multi Cultural Center remains in great need of repairs resulting from the dilapidated roof, Goree and others at the center have not lost sight of the main goal — to help needy people in the community.

“Whatever I have determined to do in my life, I put my heart, soul and mind into it,” Goree said. “That is how I feel about the work I do here.”

When not giving her time at the center, Goree enjoys decorating and has had a hand in keeping her home, homes of her family members, and even the Multi Cultural Center in tip-top shape.

She is one of two members of the Henry’s Chapel A.M.E. Church in Oakwood, and — along with Rosie Evans — holds four program a year at the church to raise money to keep the doors open.

Those who wish to help “put a lid on” the Palestine Multi Cultural Center, many contact the center at 903-729-3488.

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Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at mrainwater@palestineherald.com

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